Water Blogged

Health, Nutrition & Education for Children

Posted by Steve Hall on October 1

The programs of our implementing project partner in India, GRAVIS, are mainly committed towards the well being of rural communities, particularly marginalized children, women and the elderly. The philosophy in which GRAVIS believes focuses on holistic development of villages through safe water, education and health amenities. Keeping this vision of the organization in view, the objectives of the projects at Jelu and Gagadi Schools were to:

– Create awareness on water, health & nutrition among school children
– Ensure safe drinking water in school through bio-sand filters
– Improve nutrition of the children
– Improve the school ambiance through digital education leading to a better future of rural kids

With the support of the following H2O for Life schools, these students have benefited with enhanced knowledge of health and nutrition, improved overall health and a quality education, including the use of computers.

Riverdale High School, OR
Salem Hills Elementary, MN
Sisters4Water, NY
St. Ursula Academy, OH

Bio-sand water filters
In order to address various water-borne diseases and ensure safe drinking water, 2 bio-sand filters have been installed in each school. Children are using these filters and are getting safe drinking water!

Water, Nutrition and Health Awareness Camp for children
Water, sanitation and hygiene education in schools create an enabling environment, which secures children’s dignity, safety, health and attendance in classes. Children are more receptive and quick to adopt and sustain change. They become agents of change among their peers, families and in the community. Teachers as influential individuals, also play an important catalytic role. Primary schools are particularly suitable vehicles for nutrition education. They catch children younger, when their habits are still being formed. They reach a larger proportion of the population – in particular girls, who tend to leave school earlier. School based health programs are most cost-effective and children friendly to promote health and diet based learning, improvising their habits and simultaneously reducing absenteeism. In Nutrition and Hygiene sessions the following points have been discussed with all students:

– Hand washing before handling food and after using the toilet
– Safe handling of drinking water, raised and covered storage with a dispenser tap or ladle
– Proper use of toilets
– Water quality-testing and treating with practical demonstrations
– Understanding on Health and Nutrition
– Importance of good health
– Importance of nutrition
– Diversification of food basket (use of locally available food)

Healthy food habits learnt during this formative age will ensure that the children will have a healthier life as an adult. The children were also advised to avoid unhealthy foods available in the neighborhood shops. The teachers of the school were also trained to follow certain tips to maintain good health, nutrition and hygiene of the children. Four such camps have been organized in each school.

Computer Awareness Sessions
Two computer education sessions have been organized to orient students about basic features of computer and writing (Word, Excel and Power Point). Children enthusiastically participated in Computer Awareness Sessions and asked many related questions which were patiently answered by the instructor.

Health Check-up Camp
Medical outreach camps have been organized at the school to diagnose and give immediate relief to school children against common seasonal diseases. 2 camps have organized in each school to improve the health status of the students. These camps are attended by one trained physician, one teacher of the school and one social worker. In camps seasonal diseases, water borne diseases, vitamin A deficiency, fever, cough and colds, eye diseases and other children related problems have been treated. Their parents also appreciated this step because they typically lack the resources to visit the hospital.

Impact of the Project

– Improvement in attendance rates of students
– Improved understanding on nutrition and hygiene among students
– Parents are happy and excited for higher education opportunities of their children
– Increased number of girls in school and enhanced confidence of girl children

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